Dmitri Holtzman - EELC Executive Director

Dmitri was born in Cape Town. In 2006 he obtained a BA (majoring in Law and English Literature) from the University of Cape Town (UCT), after which he completed his LLB at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in 2009.

While at UWC Dmitri co-founded the “Street Law” Project, a programme which promotes and facilitates legal and human-rights-based community service by law students.

He was also instrumental in establishing and developing the Students for Law and Social Justice (SLSJ), a national law students’ organisation which works to promote and use the law as a tool for social justice. He later became the SLSJ’s National Chairperson, as well as holding other positions on its National Executive.

In 2010, having already volunteered for Equal Education (EE), Dmitri took up a full-time position as a researcher and parliamentary liaison officer in EE’s Policy, Communications and Research Department. He later became the department’s Deputy Head.

In 2012, Dmitri was appointed as the founding Executive Director of the EELC. He is therefore responsible for the organisation’s overall management and for reporting to the Board of Trustees.

Dmitri is also a member of the Board of the Sonke Gender Justice Network.


Sherylle Dass, Senior Attorney

Admitted as an attorney in 1999, Sherylle practiced independently until 2002. Thereafter she joined a Legal Expenses Insurance company as a legal advisor and claims manager. In 2007, she joined the Durban branch of Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR), an independent human rights organisation with a 30-year track record of human rights activism and public-interest litigation in South Africa. There she headed the Refugee and Migrant Rights Programme.

Outside of her work at the LHR, Sherylle served as Chairperson of the Durban Refugee Service Provider’s Network; she was appointed as Chairperson of the Board of Refugee Social Service (RSS); she provided training on Refugee Law and Constitutional Law to local government officials, NGOs and asylum seekers; and she acted as an advisor on the scientific committee of the Coalition of African Cities against Racism, Discrimination and Xenophobia.

In late 2013, Sherylle joined the EELC, where she hopes to use her knowledge and expertise to expand the scope of the organisation’s work.


Lisa Draga – EELC attorney

Lisa obtained her law degree at UWC and her Masters in law at the University of Missouri, Columbia. In early 2010, she completed her training as a candidate attorney at the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), assisting in litigation that ensured the release of unlawfully detained asylum seekers. From July 2010 until December 2011, she then worked as a legal researcher for Justice Zakeria Yacoob at the Constitutional Court of South Africa.

Lisa has been a part of the EELC since it was founded in January 2012. She has defended learners who have been unlawfully excluded from school; she has been involved in resisting Grootkraal’s eviction; and she formed part of the legal team who supported EE’s Campaign for Minimum Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure.




Chandré Stuurman, Junior Attorney and ‘Bertha Fellow’

Chandré is from Clarkson in the Eastern Cape. At the University of Stellenbosch, where she obtained her BA and LLB degrees, Chandré was awarded scholarships from the Make a Difference and Esteé Lauder Foundations.

During her studies, Chandré was employed by the South African Property Law Research Chair Professor AJ van der Walt as a Constitutional Property Law researcher with a particular focus on Section 25 of the Constitution. She was also involved in the Financial Literacy Project of the university’s Legal Aid Clinic.

Before joining the EELC in early 2014, Chandré completed her Articles of Clerkship with Shepstone & Wylie Attorneys.




Lisa Andrews –Candidate Attorney and ‘Bertha Fellow’

Lisa is from the Eastern Cape where she obtained an Honours degree in Economics at Rhodes University. Prior to commencing work at the EELC, Lisa worked as a managing editor, then a development editor in higher education, for Oxford University Press. During this time she also completed an LLB through UNISA.

In September 2013 Lisa qualified as an attorney. She has works closely with the EELC attorneys in drafting memoranda, assisting EE with its Campaign for Minimum Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure, and formulating submissions to Parliament on legislative bills and policies affecting basic education.


Solminic F.D Joseph - Candidate Attorney and ‘Bertha Fellow’

Solminic is from Atlantis near Cape Town. In 2012, he graduated with an LLB at UWC. While at university, Solminic became involved with the UWC HIV/AIDS Programme, where he volunteered as a Peer Educator and later became a Senior Peer Educator between 2009 and 2011. He was also a beneficiary of the Canon Collins Educational and Legal Assistance Trust’s Leigh Day Scholarship, as well as the University Scholarship for South African Students.

In 2012, before joining the EELC, Solminic was employed as a senior research fieldworker with HealthWise South Africa in 2012 and as a programme assistant and coordinator for the UWC HIV/AIDS Programme’s iCare Initiative. Currently he is completing his Articles of Clerkship with the EELC. 




Melanie Boltman – EELC Legal Administrator

Between 2001 and 2011, Melanie was employed as a training co-ordinator at the UCT School for Legal Practice. Prior to this, she obtained a Bachelor of Social Science degree in Public Administration and Politics from UCT.

Melanie joined the EELC at the time it was established and is responsible for general office management, human resources and information technology. She was also involved in EE’s Community Leadership programme.